Making Sense of the Semantic Web Will Be the Next Great Leap Forward

The Birmingham Post (England), January 3, 2006 | Go to article overview

Making Sense of the Semantic Web Will Be the Next Great Leap Forward


Byline: ANDREW SPARROW

"Have you been out in the sun too long?" said the lawyer to his senior partner whilst offering observation on a decision of the latter.

The email was copied to all other managers. No one laughed.

People send emails intending to express their thoughts but the recipient can interpret the words so as to read a wholly different meaning into the message.

It's things like body language and eye contact which fully convey our position.

Had he been sitting across a table from said senior partner, face bearing all evidence of jest, his career might have taken a different path.

The internet is also imperfect when it comes to interpretation. It can prove frus-tratingly obtuse when trying to find the right information.

Whilst hypertext links create a level of cohesion the problem is the internet still relies on humans to make the connections.

Thus, things go wrong. Often the information searched for cannot be found or if it can it is revealed in stark form with little meaningful relation to other data.

Imagine an internet where machines make all the links between the types of information and software agents can solve any problems.

Suppose you wish to interrogate your company's financial performance by finding a link between its profits and the price of oil.

Imagine if the internet could suggest the answers for things we don't even have the questions to.

This internet nirvana is called the semantic web and it will change the way the corporate world will do business online. …

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